This is a guest post by one of my cousins, David Hawkes. As the only brother of four sisters I was always drawn to the Hawkes family and my four male (and one female) cousins. David and his family live on a wonderful bush block at Wedderburn, south-west of Sydney that I could as gladly feel at home at as they do.

Green painting, 1971

When I was 16 I had a friend called Mark. Unlike my home his was warm, friendly, conversational with lots of fruit cake and tea made by his lovely mum Pat. 

One weekend night sleeping over at Mark’s, with a surfing trip planned for the following morning we went up to visit Debra, a school friend and neighbour. Debra’s brother John was half way through art school at Kogarah. 

Wandering through their house I found John’s room. In it was an easel and canvas, with palette, paints and a still life set up being painted all in green. 

Poking my fingers  into his palette, with the creamy texture of the oil paint, I thought it was the most beautiful and beguiling thing I had ever seen and felt.

Our home was bereft of art, a violent Dad and a loving Mum doing it tough.I didn’t know that art existed or that there were things called ‘paintings’ and that you could make something up from nothing. 

I hid fingers smeared with oil paint, and we went surfing the next day.

Monday afternoon, after John had told me where you could buy this art stuff, my bedroom was soon resurrected with easel, canvas, paint and a still life I painted all green.

I found art and art had found me. 

In my mind suddenly I saw that your reality wasn’t shaped by circumstance but by your imagination.

You could make a reality from an idea, and it was beautiful.  

David Hawkes,


April 2020

David Hawkes has shown widely in Sydney since 1979: at Mori Gallery, EMR, Sylvester Studios, Syme Dodson amongst others until joining Legge Gallery in 1992, then Watters Gallery in 2009 and at the Campbelltown Arts Centre among many others.. His work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria.